The legacy of Peru hosting the Pan American Games is already being felt in the capital city of Lima months before a ball has been kicked or a pass made.

Recently, a Training and Education Super Week and a Refereeing Workshop were run there by Sudamérica Rugby, aiming to generate better-qualified rugby personnel to fulfil the needs of the Pan Am Games and the planned and expected growth of the game in the country.

Thanks to the Games, the Federación Peruana de Rugby (FPR) will also have a new home, with a purpose-built stadium currently under construction in Villa María del Triunfo, on the outskirts of Lima. 

Once finalised, it will hold 1500 spectators but with the ability to expand its capacity if needed. As water is such an expensive commodity in Peru, an artificial pitch is being installed.

"We are convinced that rugby has to be taken to the masses. We need numbers. We have to get the most out of it (this opportunity) to ensure the game grows," says Néstor Corbetto, President of the Peru Rugby Federation.

Positive change

Corbetto, a former President of the FPR in the late 90s, has brought about plenty of positive change since returning to the role last year.

Corbetto took hold of the FPR with only four clubs legally constituted in line with the national sporting laws and today that number has raised to 13, with six others in line in the provinces. In all, the 2018 season finished with 500 registered players.

Developing those players and keeping them involved in the game once they hang up their boots is one of Corbetto's key goals. 

“We want those playing the game to be more serious and focus on their role as players. And we also want to change a trend by which once they quit as players they fade and disappear."

Encouraging signs

The early signs are encouraging. Within the FPR organisation, former players from three different clubs are represented.

Ultimately, Corbetto hopes that interest in rugby is passed from one generation to another and the presence of sons of former players within various junior teams suggests headway is being made.

Funding from Sudamérica Rugby and the Instituto Peruano del Deporte (Peruvian Insititute of Sport) will obviously accelerate the process of rebuilding rugby in Peru, too.

"It's important we regain credibility with Sudamérica Rugby and the Instituto Peruano del Deporte (Peruvian Insititute of Sport). More funding allows us to travel to Colombia to play games and to invite teams here so that we can put on development events which help bring through new players," Corbetto points out.